Recent statistics showed that there were no commercial aviation deaths in 2017, making it the safest year on record to fly. In fact you have a far better chance of being injured or killed in your own kitchen then you do on a commercial airliner. For those of us who spend more time in the air then we do in our own homes this should be a comforting thought. However if you fancy yourself as being the next Gordon Ramsay, then maybe not so much.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the last two years have been the safest on record. Look at these amazing statistics. In 2011, 2.8 billion people flew in 38 million airline flights (30 million jet and 8 million turboprop). But there were just 11 accidents in Western-built jets, with only 5 accidents involving fatalities. The fatality rate was 0.07 per million passengers. This means there were 486 deaths out of the whopping 2.8 billion passengers that flew in 2011. And this was down from 786 in 2010. Therefore flying is exceedingly safe, whipping up an omelet on the other hand is fraught with danger, especially if you cook as badly as our Editors.
Why is flying so safe?
Well that’s a complex question. Certainly the design of modern aircraft gets a lot of the credit. Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer all have excellent safety records. Frankly the stakes are so high they have to. After all no airline wants to lose a shiny new airplane. As well the level of training for Pilots and Flight Crews has never been higher. Yes most Western carriers have had union and employee work issues over the last few years, but despite disagreements over wages or pensions, Flight Crews remain focused on safety. It’s their lives on the line as well. And finally, rules and regulations do play a role in helping to maintain a safe airspace. There’s a reason for all of those announcements and procedures… they keep you safe.
What can you do to make flying even safer?
First of all you can follow the words you hear every time you board a plane, fasten your seat belts. Yes research has proven that the vast majority of in-flight injuries occur from unforeseen turbulence. Airplanes are designed to withstand very high loads during turbulence but there may be damage in the cabin caused by flying objects and falling passengers. Don’t be one of the casualties; keep your seat belt fastened when seated. Trust us, it really makes sense.
You should also protect against deep vein thrombosis or DVT, a potentially life threatening blood clot (usually in the legs) that can be brought on by sitting for long periods of time. If you’re in economy and the joker ahead of you insists on shoving his seat back into your knees without warning that can also be a problem. The expert’s advice is to stay hydrated and get up and walk frequently. Of course if you drink lots of water then you’re naturally going to have to use the lavatory and that’ll help keep you moving in flight.
In the end there are three main ways to stay safe; fly on known, approved, world-class carriers with modern fleets and well trained Crews; take care of yourself by wearing a seat belt and staying hydrated and active in flight; and finally avoid your kitchen. That’s why they invented take out.